CPRE President in Bath

CPRE President in Bath

Emma Bridgewater – President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) – is coming to Bath next month.

Emma Bridgewater

Emma Bridgewater.

She’ll be taking part in an informal interview with Caroline Kay who is Chief Executive of Bath Preservation Trust. The event will be held at St Michael’s Without in Bath on Wednesday, April 18th at 7pm.

A successful businesswoman and champion of British Industry, Emma is most recognised for her trademark hand-decorated kitchen pottery business.

Now employing over 300 people, she has refused to outsource manufacturing to low wage economies abroad and her company makes all of its pottery in Stoke on Trent, reviving these traditional skills.

The evening will take the form of an informal interview, chaired by Caroline Kay, Chief Executive of BPT. Topics will include the green landscape setting of Bath’s World Heritage Site and threats from development plus CPRE’s own national campaigns ‘the wrong homes in the wrong places’ and ‘roads to nowhere’ which also challenge Green Belt development.

In this centenary year of women getting the vote, Emma will also look at women who campaign and share some of her own relevant experiences of countryside campaigning.

Tickets are £5 via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-evening-with-emma-bridgewater-tickets-44223135589

Rails-way station

Rails-way station

I am naturally curious. Don’t know whether it’s journalistic training – or that l came ‘ready-wired’ for being nosey – but l like to explore unusual avenues in search of stories for Bath Newseum.

Our local authority publishes a weekly list of planning applications and l enjoy a scroll through in search of material.

Here’s a good example. More than 17,000 people pass in and out of Bath Spa station every day and – l am sure – many may have noticed the work carried out on preparing this stopping point on the Bristol to London line for the new ten-carriage trains now coming into service.


Bath Spa Station – looking back towards Bristol.

Putting the electrification of the line saga to one side – whether it’s an overhead pylon or an onboard alternative diesel engine – these new riders-of-the-rails offer greater capacity in a more up-to-date environment.

The new rolling stock has meant extending platforms. That’s after they were also built out towards the tracks so that the intended overhead electric power supply wouldn’t mean demolishing listed canopies.


Bit of platform lengthening from a few weeks ago.

There was also space to move the tracks closer together – thanks to Brunel’s original ‘broad gauge’ layout.

The electrification programme has slowed to nothing following government criticism of costs but there are still little station improvements to be done that have nothing to do with the mega-bucks being spent elsewhere on the Great Western Electrification Project.

A point in question concerns a short section of parapet wall adjacent to the main buildings of Platform 1 on the Bristol end of the station which – according to a letter sent to B&NES Planning Department by Mr Ian Wheaton of Network Rail – ‘has been identified as below-height for compliance with minimum recommended suicide prevention mitigation.’


The low wall can be seen on the far right of the picture. This one taken before the platforms were extended.

Putting it more simply – there is a danger people might – accidentally or deliberately – fall over it! There is a fair drop on the other side.

Originally Network Rail wanted to build the wall up and had been given planning permission to do this. However, they now want the Council to approve a change of plan.

In his letter, Ian Wheaton says: ‘ Having undertaken structural assessments of the existing wall, it was found that the structure would not be able to maintain the new loads associated with using stone to match the existing.

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 11.07.10

The length of wall in question.

Following discussion with the Council and Historic England, it was agreed the appropriate solution would see the installation of railings of a similar design to that used elsewhere within the station, specifically those which surround the dining terrace of the Graze restaurant on Platform 2.’

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 11.06.56

Existing railings around Graze.

Can’t see that this is going to be much of a problem – in terms of objections – but the public has the right to comment on the application via


If you would like a nose through the whole current list of planning applications click onto https://isharemaps.bathnes.gov.uk/data.aspx?requesttype=parsetemplate&template=DevelopmentControlSearchWeeklyList.tmplt

In the steps of the monks.

In the steps of the monks.

The Friary is a small hamlet near Freshford – and around five miles from Bath. It’s a beautiful spot – close to the River Frome – and the site – historically – of buildings which housed the lay brothers employed at the Carthusian Priory at Hinton Charterhouse – just a mile away.

There’s not much to see of this former monastic settlement but its place in local history has now been marked by the unveiling of an interpretation board at this – the southern-most tip of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This highly-visual marker – paid for with a grant from the Cotswolds Conservation Board – also mentions the fact that traditional rural skills courses are run at this location, Many of them using the materials and local resources vital to the lay brothers who lived here nearly 800 years ago.


Marking the Southern-most tip of the Cotswold AONB, Mark O’Sullivan (Cotswold Conservation Board Secretary of State appointee and Bath resident) unveils an interpretative information board In Friary, just south of Bath, which marks the spot of this southern outpost and also explains the unique natural history of Friary, once part of a Carthusian monastery. Joining him are (L-R) Lucy Baile (Fern Forest School); Ed Bonn (COANB Rural Skills Officer); Cllr. Tony Merry (CCB member); Penny Williamson (Traditional and Rural Skills, Bath); and Tom Harper (Freshford and Limpley Stoke Environmental Working Group). The sign is on a public footpath, following the Two Valleys Walk, passing through Freshford and Avoncliff. All are welcome to stop by and enjoy Friary!

The unveiling was done by  Mark O’Sullivan who is the Cotswold Conservation Board Secretary of State appointee and a Bath resident!  The interpretative information board marks the spot of this southern outpost of the AONB and also explains the unique natural history of Friary and its former role as part of a Carthusian monastery.

(L-R) Marion and Alan Rayner (Bath Natural History Society) provided the words for the Interpretative Information Board in Friary; Roger Barnes (Architectural Historian) provided the reconstruction drawing of the Friary itself as it would have appeared in about 1400; Annette Becker (Designer) provided beautiful hand-drawn illustrations. Thanks to Penny Williamson for the images!

The sign is on a public footpath, following the Two Valleys Walk, passing through Freshford and Avoncliff.

Find out more about rural craft skills courses at The Friary via http://www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk




How much​ to fly the flag?

How much​ to fly the flag?

Despite the fact it looks as if the Union flag on top the Guildhall has been the victim of council cuts – it has not actually been cut in half.


The tip of the flag has caught on the pole creating the impression that is is a shadow of its former self.


It is my understanding that the reason there hasn’t been a rush to the roof to lower it and disentangle the material is the sheer cost of such an operation.

When l settled in Bath seven years ago l was kindly taken up to the roof to get some super shots of the city and also the figure of  ‘Justice’ – up their with her scales.


Now l hear – health and safety being what it is – they have to pay for a specialist to come and do the job for them.

Flying the ‘flag’ is not what it once was.

Spring clean for Bath

Spring clean for Bath

Community groups in Bath are joining forces with others across the country over the weekend of 2nd to 4th March to make our country a nicer place to live, by taking part in the annual national Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy.

In our patch, there’s even a boat that’s been hired to help clear up the River Avon and volunteers are being encouraged to come along and take part.

Seven groups have already applied to Bath & North East Somerset Council for support for the event, which runs from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4thMarch. The Council is helping volunteer groups by providing litter picking equipment (including, gloves, litter pickers, hi-visibility clothing and rubbish bags) and clearing the bags from designated places.

Across Bath and North East Somerset, volunteers will be litter picking areas including Keynsham, Westfield, Wellow and areas of Bath such as Twerton, Westmoreland, Widcombe and the River Avon.

This is the first time a boat has been used to help with the litter picks, along with a fully trained volunteer crew, whilst other people join in on foot.  Volunteers are being encouraged to sign up and take part by going to www.raclp.eventbrite.co.uk. There will be two clean up shifts (10am-11.30am and 12.30pm-2pm) on Saturday 3rd March, meeting at the Pontoon at the rear of Bath Train Station.  The team are aiming to recycle as much as they can.

Litter Pick with Boat Poster v3

Guy Hodgson, one of the volunteers taking part, said: “This event is a great way of tackling river and ocean pollution. For a lasting improvement, we urgently need action from central government to deliver a comprehensive deposit returns scheme for drinks containers which rewards good behaviour.”

In the last 5 years, Bath & North East Somerset Council has cleared up over 4,000 tonnes of litter every year.  The litter picks will improve our neighbourhoods for everyone to enjoy.  They will make the place cleaner and tidier and reduce the hazards to people and animals caused by litter such as plastic.


Rubbish thrown over the wall into Sydney Gardens

Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Development & Neighbourhoods, said: “The Spring Clean is just one weekend, but the Council is keen to encourage groups to take part throughout the year, especially at times when demand for equipment is quieter.

“With concerns about the impact of plastic increasing throughout the country, especially as a result of programmes such as the Blue Planet, this is a great way to do your bit and help to protect our environment from the damage caused by carelessly discarded litter.  Everyone can do their bit to help reduce the problem of littering; make sure you throw your rubbish in a litter bin or take it home with you, join a local group or set one up,  or pick up litter when you’re out and about, providing it’s safe to do so.”


Canalside grit container used for general rubbish and dog poo bags!

Another group taking part is the Keynsham Wombles, who hold regular litter picks throughout the year – last year they even used abseilers to help litter pick parts of the park!  This year they will be starting on foot from various points around Keynsham including Santander for the Memorial Park, the Train Station, Stoney Lane allotments, Dapps Hill Bridge and The Lock Keeper pub.  The litter picks will run from 2pm-4pm, finishing with free tea and cakes at the Bowls Club in the park.

To find out more about how to organise a litter pick, please go to the Council’s website; www.bathnes.gov.uk/organisealitterpick. For more information on keeping your neighbourhood clean and tidy, you may wish to go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/friendsofourstreet for information and free downloadable materials.

Goodbye old friend.

Goodbye old friend.

It’s always sad to see an old friend go and non more so than realising the lovely old weeping ash that’s been a feature of Bath’s Parade Gardens for so many years – has been felled.


The weeping​ ash stood to one side of the bandstand. You can clearly see it had to be supported.

Bath Newseum follower Catharine Adams drew my attention to it with the following email.

‘Any idea why that big tree in the Parade Gardens got taken out today’s? I guess it wasn’t safe as it had big supports but it was important for shade and just because it was a beautiful tree!’
I went onto Twitter to leave a message for the Parks Department at B&NES – who were quick to reply.
‘The Weeping Ash was dying & its condition deteriorated to such an extent the risk of limb failure was unacceptably high. It’d been retained for many years by tree surgery & props, sadly these were no longer enough.
It will be hugely missed but there is a weeping willow planted to replace it as another weeping Ash would not be suitable due to the Ash Die Back disease.”

The remains of the Weeping​ Ash and the notice warning of its departure.

There are notices in Parade Gardens that have warned of the tree felling – and indeed – of other trees nearby.
The one by the stump of the now absent weeping ash says:
‘Sadly, this elderly Weeping Ash tree is to be felled. The tree is in a very poor condition and is dying. Unfortunately, it will not recover or improve, so needs to be removed before the risk of limb or stem failure becomes too high.
We understand that this popular tree will be missed and we will be replacing it with a young Weeping Willow which will in time – we hope – become an equally loved feature in Parade Gardens.
Unfortunately, some of the smaller Ash trees nearby have succumbed to Ash die-back (Chelara) and will also need to be removed. These will be replaced with specimens of Acer griseum (Snake-bark maple).”


A smaller ash – near the bandstand -​ has been removed.

You don’t have to wander far from this point to become aware of another area of felling operations – this time along the riverbank.
Another notice says:
“over the winter we’ll be undertaking a programme of landscaping improvements in Parade Gardens. This will improve the borders along the river, providing a wider range of interesting flowers and grasses and more nectar-rich flowers for bees.

Tree felling is opening up the view to the river.

In recent years, more of the Spotted laurels in the gardens have also succumbed to disease and we will be removing dead and dying specimens and replacing them with other disease-resistant species.

Felling along the river edge.

We hope to have the new borders ready for the spring.
Please bear with us whilst works are ongoing. We may need to temporarily restrict access to some areas, and please follow the advice of our teams to help ensure public safety.”
Hope that helps Katharine – and any other Bath Newseum follower who may have noticed the tree felling.

The location of the Weeping​ Ash – as seen from Terrace Walk.

It’s good to know the Parks Department put up notices but – for the benefit of those just admiring from afar – the odd press release wouldn’t go amiss. Always happy to pass on new – both good and bad – to the Bath public.
Fly-tipper gets heavy fine for despoiling​ Bath beauty spots.

Fly-tipper gets heavy fine for despoiling​ Bath beauty spots.

A 30-year-old man has been fined £6,400 after 12 tonnes of rubbish was dumped in beautiful countryside near Bath, including at an Iron Age Fort and on land belonging to a scout group.

Creese Stantonbury Hill 06.12.2016

The actions of Garth Creese, from Crediton Crescent, Bristol, were described by the prosecution as deliberate and led to blatant acts of environmental vandalism in some of the most beautiful and historic areas in the district which had cost innocent landowners in excess of £3,500 to clear up.

Creese, who runs a waste clearance business, pleaded guilty to nine offences, under the Environmental Protection Act, in Rankers Lane, Compton Dando, Keynsham Scout Group land in Chelwood and two incidents at the site of an Iron Age fort in Stantonbury Hill and Stanton Prior. He was fined £1,600 per offence.

Creese Stantonbury Hill 2 13.12.2018

Creese appeared before Bath Magistrates on Monday, February 19th, and was also ordered to pay £450 costs and a victim surcharge of £160.

Bath and North East Somerset Council brought the prosecution following reports of piles of rubbish dumped in the locations between November 24th and December 13th, 2016.

Creese Compton Dando 01.12.2016

The court heard that the legislation is designed to ensure those disposing and handling waste take reasonable care to ensure it is only handled by reputable waste handlers and any transfer of waste is accompanied by a Waste Transfer Note,  so that waste is traceable and incidences of fly-tipping reduced.

But the court was told Creese’s unregulated waste clearance business resulted in significant incidences of fly-tipping of builders’ rubbish and household waste including black bagged waste, large household items including a sofa, chairs, a fridge-freezer and miscellaneous items of rubbish.

Creese Chelwood 24.11.2016

Magistrates heard during the investigation that it became clear that Creese showed potential customers an expired Waste Carriers Permit and offered his services at a rate that could never have covered the costs of legitimate disposal.

Speaking after the guilty plea, Councillor Bob Goodman, (Conservative Coombe Down), cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “The investigation took a lot of time but this is an excellent result for the council and its Waste Enforcement Team which I want to thank for its hard work.

“This sends a clear message that we will always prosecute. Fly-tipping is anti-social and in this case a blight on beautiful countryside. We want to remind people that if you employ a waste clearance company please make sure it is a reputable one with up-to-date waste carriers licence.”